11/17: Life is Short! Hug Someone!
However, those left behind are grieving the loss.
Life is short! Embrace the idea that God has given you a life to live ON PURPOSE! He has invited each one of us on this adventure. Our life has a point, and WE ARE NOT IT! Excuse my boldness, but it's way past time to expand our thinking.
What would this world look like if we each gave our 49 years, 72 years, 19 years, whatever time we are gifted, to an Almighty God?
Let's pretend that today we CAN see the purpose. If we could see, comprehend, understand the power of our words, our anger, our influence we would gladly turn it over to the One who created us for His Glory!
Lord, teach us to number our days! Time is short. Examine us today! Allow us to gain the wisdom to make better choices, to embrace the very real fact that we are a mere vapor and alone we can do nothing. Take my life and blend it with all my fellow Jesus-loving friends who long to run this race with You. Make a difference through our little bit of obedience, I pray in Jesus' name, amen.
Stand up! Take a leap of faith! Don't sit! Don't stop! Don't quit!
God is watching and He has His angels on standby to rise up and race to our side as we grip His hand and RUN WITH PURPOSE!
11/05: Exit Strategy
What's the exit strategy? That is the first question my mind asks whenever something new pops into my life. Maybe it stems from moving every year as a kid or maybe it's the built-in mechanism that's triggered to avoid being hurt, again. You could analyze it to death, the fact is, I do it. And I'm trying to recognize it so I can stop doing it.
When I have a new project, a new job, a new friendship, my mind immediately throws up the wall saying, "Brace yourself. Don't get too close. Don't get too connected. Don't think it will last. Prepare for exit now."
I've even done it with my relationship with Jesus. I've thought, "He'll get tired of my ups and downs and give up at some point."
Curling up with His Word reminds me to think differently about Him. Others may label me weird, He never does. He says, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Others may give up and say enough. But He says, "I will never leave you or forsake you."
Today's Jesus Calling says:
You can live as close to Me as you choose. I set up no barriers between us; neither do I tear down barriers that you erect.
People tend to think their circumstances determine the quality of their lives. So they pour their energy into trying to control those situations. They feel happy when things are going well, and sad or frustrated when things don't turn out as they'd hoped. They rarely question this correlation between their circumstances and feelings. Yet it is possible to be content in any and every situation.
Put more energy into trusting Me and enjoying My Presence. Don't let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to My precious promises.
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will meet all your need according to My glorious riches. Nothing in all creation will be able to separate you from My Love.
Philippians 4:12; Genesis 28:15; Philippians 4:19; Romans 8:38-39
Think I'll stand firm on those promises and stop looking for a way out. Want to join me?
I was one of the multitude. It is shocking to realize that most people on this planet think that
if they are 'good enough'
if they 'try really hard'
if they 'get their act together'
if they 'go to church, study the Bible, never cuss, give their tithe, blah, blah, blah'
they might, just might - make it through the pearly gates when they die.
It's a striving mentality that puts the weight of your eternal home on your worthiness. EXHAUSTING! and unattainable! We will NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH!
Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement - was in September - it commemorates God's pardon of the Jews after they committed the sin of idolatry.
According to one tradition on this day, the father of the house takes a rooster and the wife takes a female chicken. Each of them holds the animal in his or her right hand and recites a number of verses. Afterwards the chicken is transferred to the left hand and is waved around the head three times while the person recites: ‘This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. The rooster [or hen] will go to its death while I enter and proceed to a good long life, and to peace.’ The chicken, which is immediately slaughtered, symbolizes man’s sins and dies instead of him.
I may not have a bronze statue that I worship, but my idols have often taken the place of God. I am an unworthy sinner in need of atonement. If the Israelites, who were rescued from Egypt could turn their backs on the God who delivered them after 40 days, what makes me think I would be any different?
I am doomed....except
There was One perfect Lamb, sent by God, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for my sin. "It is finished" was not just a phrase Jesus uttered on the cross speaking about his life. He was telling us that He was the final sacrifice. We only need believe that He is the Son of God who came to deliver us once and for all.
We repent of our sins, which doesn't mean, I'm sorry, it means I'M THROUGH!
No more feeling like it is all up to me. God delivered me, and He sent His Son to deliver you too. He says, "Pick up your mat and walk" into the freedom of a new life. A life that is forever changed.
Jesus died on the cross, Matthew 27:51 says, "the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split." That veil separated the common folk from the Holy of Holies where God would accept the High Priest's sacrifice for the people. It was about 12 inches thick. It didn't just accidentally rip like a worn pair of jeans. In Hebrews chapters 8 & 9 it explains how Jesus became our High Priest and the blood of sacrificial animals is no longer required.
When I accepted Him into my life, everything changed. I came unclean, undone and unbelievably lost. Now I want to live better. I want to do the right thing. I want to live in His light. But hear me when I say, "I will always trip and fall, yet I stand on the Solid Rock who is My Redeemer. His sacrifice was enough. No more sacrificing chickens. It is finished."
08/27: Ever Wondered?
Max, please allow me to quote a section from your book:
If you have ever wondered how God reacts when you fail, frame these words and hang them on your wall. Read them. Ponder them. Drink from them. Stand below them and let them wash over your soul.
Or better still, take them with you to your canyon of shame. Invite Christ to journey with you back to the bridge of your guilt. Let Him stand beside you as you retell the events of the darkest nights of your soul.
And listen. Listen carefully. He's speaking.
"I don't judge you guilty."
And watch. Watch carefully. He's writing. He's leaving a message. Not in the sand, but on a cross.
Not with His hand, but with His blood.
His message has two words:
I love this book for many reasons. It retells the stories of God moving stones in people's lives and reminds me that He is still the same God, ready to move mine. And what makes it more special than ever? My mom gave it to me. Her name is written in the front of this book, in her handwriting. A name she can't remember. She turned 85 this week. And although she doesn't know her name or mine, she etched the most precious name in this world on my heart, Jesus.
Ever wonder if He cares about the details in your life? He's waiting to move your stone.
08/25: Laying it Down
Glance back through the scriptures. He blessed Abraham. He blessed Rebekah. He blessed Isaac. He blessed Laban. He blessed Jacob. He blessed Joseph. He blessed Moses. He blessed Gad.
Yes, Gad! Who, you might ask, is Gad? He is, who I want to be when I grow up!
Deuteronomy 33:20 says:
"About Gad he said: "Blessed is he who enlarges Gad's domain! Gad lives there like a lion, tearing at arm or head. He chose the best land for himself; the leader's portion was kept for him. When the heads of people assembled, he carried out the LORD'S righteous will, and his judgments concerning Israel."
Who was he?
He was Jacob's son...yea, the one you don't hear about. The one who was born out of wedlock. Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, but was tricked and got Leah. Leah wanted kids so she got her maidservant Zilpah to hang out with Jacob and have a couple boys. One was Gad.
Now, I wonder what his life was like growing up? He may have felt, not just second rate, but third, fourth, fifth.....etc....
I wonder if there were days he wondered why on earth he was born. He might have seen the special treatment given to the other sons, especially Joseph and thought, "It's not fair!" Maybe he wanted to give up. Maybe he didn't get any of his dad's attention. Maybe he felt like everything he touched was tainted.
Maybe you feel that way sometimes. Maybe you wonder what God was thinking when he allowed you to be born. Maybe you look around and think, "It's not fair!" or "Why doesn't anything go MY way?"
Somewhere along the way Gad figured it out.
God did NOT make a mistake.
He couldn't question his role in this life. He had a part to play. He was born into this family under these circumstances ON PURPOSE! God had a plan.
He stopped wondering why and began living the life he was designed to live. He didn't let the limitations of his ancestry stop him, no, he lived large. And he was blessed because:
He carried out the LORD'S righteous will
God wants desperately to bless you...and me! What would our world look like if we stopped playing the blame game...the complain game...the explain game and simply
CARRIED OUT THE LORD'S RIGHTEOUS WILL?
Think I'll lay down my will for His. Want to join me?
Let's chat at the Encouragement Cafe Facebook page
sit a spell with us at the Encouragement Cafe radio show.
08/04: Amy - an angel unaware
And yet, there was always a smile! Her chuckle revealed gums that shimmered and lines that burrowed deep into her skin from years of laughter. I felt safe with Amy. To me she was 100 years old and the wisest woman on the planet. She loved it when I would come in and sit a spell. Just inside the door was her rocking chair, end table and lamp where she would sit for hours tatting doilies. They were intricate and magnificent! A spider's web could not be more elaborate. She was a master craftsman. And every doily was soaked with starch and formed with crisp edges to hold certain shapes.
In the middle of the room was a pot bellied stove and on the far wall was her tiny twin bed topped with her handmade lace creation. Stunning! The kitchen was adjacent and the entire home was about 150 s.f. The restroom was a tilted outhouse complete with a Sears catalog with missing pages.
I think of Amy occasionally when God reminds me how critical it is to GO, when He says, "Go."
Amy lived most of her life in a very rough environment. Then one day the Sunday School bus came down her street. Mostly kids scurried to catch it, but one day she decided to get up early and hobble to the edge of the road. Maybe if the driver saw her standing there with her walker he might slow down and notice her. Maybe, just maybe she could go see what this Sunday School was all about.
He did slow down. As a matter of fact, he got out and helped her on board. Amy found Jesus that day. She was faithful from that day on to be waiting for the bus every Sunday because she didn't want to miss a thing.
I wonder how long it's been since we anxiously waited for Jesus? I wonder if we are tuned in enough to know where He is calling us to go? I wonder if another Amy is sitting in a small room waiting on you or me to arrive?
My sweet friend shared this song with me this morning and it fits. Sometimes our obedience is better than a hallelujah.
07/15: Anxious About Many Things?
I have been worried about many things that have been keeping me up at night. I've moved my office from Keller Williams to the new revamped home/radio studio which is great, but not totally functional yet. Boxes are still in the garage waiting for me to pour through them. Printers still are not functioning. My assistant decided not to stay since the drive would be too much.
So my hats have not changed, they are just slipping off of my head ;o) and I fear I will forget something critical.
I have a full day today, driving to WV to meet with the ladies who are now gearing up to promote our EXTREME event in a little over a month! Please pray that God will speak to them through these lips today, and His Spirit will pour in me and onto them.
Now, as I read my devotions today, Jesus Calling was PERFECT!!! In bold capital letters the first line read:
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW!
This is not a suggestion, but a command.
I've been staggering under the load this week. Today I am throwing off that oppression with total trust on the One who placed me right here, right now.
How about you?
Do you worry about many things? What if we just decided to replace every single worry with prayer for someone else?
What would that look like?
I'm trying it and here is a EUREKA moment for me!
BEFORE -- AFTER
Get orders placed -- Pray for the girl who fills my order who suffers from depression
Get banking done -- Pray for the girls at the bank who are struggling
Drive to WV -- Pray for each woman I will have the honor of hugging today
The overcrowded list -- Pray for the Encouragement Cafe team, the Proverbs 31 team, the
real estate team, the Bee Sweet customers, the vendors, etc.
Lord, take control of my agenda today and my life. Prepare me to be used to the fullest for Your glory. Teach me what is on Your priority list. Father, I lift each woman who stumbles across this blog today and feels overwhelmed. Lift her spirits and pour Your Spirit into her, I pray. You provide all we need, we just get our needs and wants confused. Be our portion today, in Jesus' name, amen.
Stop by Encouragement Cafe or the Encouragement Cafe facebook page if you get a chance. The girls are chattering away!
07/09: The Valve
Let me be honest, I am a flawed character. There is no sense trying to hide it, you'll find out soon enough. However, when I pick up God's Word I discover that I am not alone, and neither are you. Flawed characters are what God specializes in! Take a look at the crew He hand-picked to be His disciples!
First, let's realize that each one had already traveled down the road of life. Peter had a wife and a grueling job. Matthew went into the corporate world of tax collecting and may have been climbing the ladder of success. Each one was a character who brought with them baggage. Hot-tempered, greedy, doubters surrounded the Son of God and yet, He never gave up on them because He knew what they could become.
He knows my every weakness. He watched me cut off the ear of the guy who cut me off in traffic and almost made me crash. (well, I cut it off in my thoughts!) He heard me grumble when things didn't go the way I had planned. He hears the cry of my heart.
The disciples were no spring chickens, they were seasoned, baked and broiled by life. So if you think you've come to a spot in life where you are past being used for His glory, think again. He loves taking what the world says is 'over the hill' and placing them on a path to the mountaintop.
Two percent of people do something great in their youth. More, many more in the later years of life, who give God the smallest yes, watch Him turn it into a feast for not only their soul, but countless others.
Are you ready to use the experiences you have behind you as an offering of praise for what He has laid out before you? Me too!
Notice God didn't stick one guy out by himself, he gave them each other.
Welcome to our group! We're happy to do life with you ;o)
06/24: More from 2 Chronicles
I read verses 34 & 35 in this 6th chapter:
Luann, I have called Encouragement EXTREME to WV and TN. I have chosen those cities & the cities who want to hear my message through this event and Encouragement Cafe. Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray! Get it? That is YOUR role. I've got the rest in MY control. Your temple bears MY name. I will uphold, confirm, support and maintain the cause and course I have set before you! Go, get on your knees.
Will you join me in prayer for these upcoming events and the radio program?
06/22: When - Then
Well, here is what I found today: Life is fair.
I discovered the word WHEN. When trouble comes. For some reason we often feel like if we do all the right things, we might get a pass on troubles. Not so. I know in John 16:33 Jesus said, In this world we WILL have trouble - but I really hoped He wasn't serious. Didn't you?
But here it is plain as day saying, WHEN famine, plague, blight, mildew (did they look in my house?), locusts, grasshoppers, enemies, any disease or disaster comes. That pretty much covers about any catastrophe you can think of, don't you think?
So when we look at the news and see the devastation that hits, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, cancer, H1N1, we really shouldn't be shocked.
If it hasn't happened to you, something will. You will eventually be hit with disease or death or disaster. Aren't you glad you came to visit today? Just call me Mary Sunshine.
I think it was refreshing really for God to let this wise man tell us that it's coming. Because then he tells us what to do NEXT! He said, when we are in pain and afflicted, raise your hands and pray to the only one able to rescue you!
THEN, God will hear, forgive and deal with us.
As I wrote all of this in my journal today, His Voice whispered to my heart, "Why are you surprised when pain, sickness or attacks come? No one is spared from trouble. Yet when you realize I AM is the only one who can rescue and you stop trying to be your own savior, reach us to me and plead for help. I will hear and forgive you. Your consequences may remain because I will do what is necessary to pierce your heart."
Well then, now I'm prepared.
WHEN trouble comes - I pray - THEN He hears
Sounds fair enough.